ACCESSION NUMBER:381878 FILE ID:PO1103 DATE:03/06/95 TITLE:U.S. SAYS IT HAS SUPPORT TO KEEP IRAQI SANCTIONS IN PLACE (03/06/95) TEXT:*95030603.PO1 U.S. SAYS IT HAS SUPPORT TO KEEP IRAQI SANCTIONS IN PLACE (Albright cites success of trip to explain issue) (770) By Judy Aita USIA United Nations Correspondent United Nations -- The United States has won support from a majority of U.N. Security Council members for its position that the sanctions regime on Iraq, including the oil embargo, should remain in place until Baghdad complies with all relevant council resolutions, U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright said March 6. At a press conference at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Albright said she was pleased with the results of the recent trip she undertook at the request of President Clinton to ensure that the sanctions regime in place since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait would be sustained during upcoming sanctions reviews in March and April. Russia and France have been pressing the council to set a date for lifting the oil embargo after the U.N. Special Commission overseeing the destruction of Iraqi weapons (UNSCOM) certifies that the long-term monitoring regime is fully operational. That certification is expected later this year. Citing developments in Iraq to support the U.S. case for concern over Iraq's intentions if the oil embargo is lifted and Baghdad again has oil revenues, Albright discussed new photographs of a rebuilt Iraqi chemical factory and two major ballistic missile factories, photographs previously shown to the council depicting lavish homes and palaces of top Iraqi officials, and photographs of Iraqi military units equipped with stolen Kuwaiti weapons. What concerns the United States, she said, is that the Iraqis "have been talking about having scarce resources, saying that they cannot afford to feed their people and at the same time we have photographic evidence that they have rebuilt these facilities that are for the production of chemical weapons." "The intention of the Iraqis is under question given the fact that they have rebuilt these facilities at a time they are saying that they can't afford to do things for their own people," the ambassador said. "So it's the intent that we are concerned about." 1 If the oil embargo is lifted and Iraq expels the U.N. inspectors now assigned to the long-term monitoring program, the United States has estimated that, given the current status of the rebuilt facilities, Iraq could be manufacturing ballistic missiles in one year and could resume full production of chemical weapons in two years. "What we need to do is assure ourselves of the intentions of the Iraqi regime, and we don't have...an awful lot of latitude here to allow for mistakes," Albright said. "A regime that in the past has had chemical, biological as well as nuclear weapons (and) is in fact rebuilding facilities does not get the benefit of the doubt from us," she said. Asked if the United States is prepared to use its veto power in the council to stop the lifting of sanctions, Albright stressed that after her consultations she does not believe that such an action would be necessary. The ambassador explained that in the past months there had been "some ambiguity" in the positions of some council members, along with five new members joining the council in January. Therefore, the Clinton administration believed that her trip was needed "in order to lock in a majority." "It is my belief that this trip has, in fact, locked in such a majority and therefore it would seem to be unnecessary to use a veto; however, if that is necessary we are prepared to do so," Albright said. "But given the kind of support...from the highest levels of the governments where I was, I truly believe that we have a majority (and) that a veto would not be necessary...for the foreseeable future," she said. Between February 23 and March 4 Albright met with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, Sultan Qaboos of Oman, Czech President Vaclav Havel, Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, and Honduran President Roberto Reina. She also spoke by phone with Argentinian President Carlos Menem and the foreign ministers of Botswana and Rwanda. Over the past year U.S. officials have said that the U.S. position on lifting the Iraqi sanctions is based on a judgment call the United States believes the council should make about the Baghdad regime's intentions and behavior across the board, including deployment of forces in the south last October, refusal to return Kuwaiti equipment, refusal to provide an accounting of Kuwaiti prisoners, refusal to renounce terrorism, and refusal to stop repression against the Kurds in the north and the Shia in the south. NNNN .